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developed by Cavallo Media by Alex G. Webb illustrated by Alex G. Webb

Age Range: 2 - 6

Pub Date: Aug. 10th, 2011
Publisher: Cavallo Media

A collection of animal stories for beginning readers.

This app from Cavallo Media offers eight adaptations of previously published educational stories, all designed to stimulate language skills and boost literacy. Much like the old Dick and Jane readers, these short animal tales are written in simple and repetitive or patterned language, offering budding readers a reliable shot at mastery. Each story is six pages in length (good for short attention spans) and is accompanied by crude, clip-art–like drawings and rudimentary animation. Interactivity is minimal, as story selection, page turns and taps to repeat animation provide the only opportunities to utilize touch-screen technology. The read-to-me option includes highlighted text and sound effects, neither of which is available in read-it-myself mode. Tapping the top of any page reveals a menu icon, which allows readers to easily navigate between stories. In print, this series has been marketed directly to schools. The iPad adaptations don’t add much to the mix in terms of technological value. Other than a small amount of movement and some sound effects they don’t offer much more than the books do, which is darn little, considering the many excellent books for emerging readers currently available.

This app won't win any awards for outstanding use of tablet technology; worse, it doesn’t make reading even remotely pleasurable for children starting out on their own. (iPad storybook app. 2-6)